Homemade Crunchy Taco Hamburger Helper

WP_20150324_005

I have made it at least three times but I wasn’t able to take decent pictures of it to post. It’s not the prettiest meal I have ever made, but it is a new favorite in my house. Thanks for reading, enjoy! 🙂

Homemade Taco Hamburger Helper – adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 large shallot or 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 – 2 TBSP homemade taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1-3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Toppings: crushed tortilla chips, salsa, sliced avocado, chopped green onions

Directions –

Brown ground beef with shallot in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain then return to the skillet. Add taco seasoning, salsa, and chicken broth then bring to a boil. Add rice then place a lid on top and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender then remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Place lid back on the skillet then let sit for 5 minutes before serving with toppings.

Advertisements

Tres Leches Rice Pudding

WP_20140304_18_56_56_Pro

Rice pudding is the nostalgic comfort food of my childhood. My dear Gram would often make a big pot of arroz con leche for breakfast, which I happily ate then and will continue to enjoy – even if the pot is all for me. Sadly, (and strangely) my family doesn’t have an appreciation for this kind of treat. Last night, I did get my girl to try two small tastes of this (she’s the picky one), and she said it was pretty good. I will make a believer out of her yet! 😉

Most recipes call for chilling the pudding for a couple of hours in the fridge – forget that! Why wait when this stuff begs to be eaten hot with just a pinch of cinnamon on top? This pudding was luxurious and creamy and not too sweet. Near perfect! Gram’s will always be the standard, but I think she’d approve of this 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Tres Leches Rice Pudding – adapted from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

  • 1 cup (180 grams) long- grain white rice
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 large egg
  • One 12- ounce can (11/2 cups or 355 ml) evaporated milk
  • One 13.5- ounce can (1 cups or 415 ml) unsweetened coconut
  • One 14- ounce can (11/4 cups or 390 grams) sweetened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon, to finish

Cook the rice: Put the rice, 2 cups of water, and the salt in a medium saucepan with a tight- fitting lid. Bring to a boil- you should hear the pot going all a flutter under the lid and puffing steam out the seam. Reduce to a low simmer, and let the rice cook for 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Remove the rice pot from the heat.

Once the rice is cooked, whisk the egg in a medium bowl, and then whisk in the evaporated milk. Stir the coconut and sweetened condensed milks into the rice, then add the egg mixture. Return the saucepan to heat and cook the mixture over medium- low heat until it looks mostly, or about 90 percent, absorbed (the pudding will thicken a lot as it cools), about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the vanilla, then divide the pudding among serving dishes. Chill your puddings for at least an hour if desired – I love mine warm with a sprinkling of cinnamon 🙂

Hungry for More??

arroz2

Coconut Milk and Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

110

Arroz con Leche

Simple Rice Pilaf

WP_20140115_18_25_07_Pro

Quick Post: Years ago, before I was a food snob, I bough boxed rice and pasta sides without thinking twice. This is a great substitute for a basic Rice-a-Roni side and it has way more flavor, not to mention ingredients that I can pronounce 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Simple Rice Pilaf – adapted from Simply Scratch

  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 cup Orzo pasta
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 2.5 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions – 

Melt butter in a 2 quart saucepan until hot and bubbly. Add the orzo and toast until it becomes lightly golden. Add the cup of rice, stir. Pour in the chicken stock and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Orange Glazed Chicken Thighs and Coconut Rice

WP_20140109_19_04_16_Pro

Quick Post: It doesn’t look like much, but my family enjoyed it. I really loved the coconut rice – it doesn’t taste like coconut, but the coconut milk makes the rice rich and creamy. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Orange Glazed Chicken Thighs – adapted from The Stay at Home Chef

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 1 cup orange juice (about 4 oranges)
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
 Directions –
1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with non stick cooking spray. If you want to be fancy, line the bottom of the pan with orange slices (optional).
2. In a small saucepan, combine the orange juice, orange zest, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
3. Place your chicken thighs skin-side up in the prepared baking dish. Pour half of the glaze over the chicken thighs.
4. Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes. Take the remaining glaze and pour it over the chicken.
5. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes. The skin will get nice and crisp and browned.

WP_20140109_18_59_57_Pro

Coconut Rice –

  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk, plus enough water to make 2 cups
  • 1 cup water
  • salt to taste (optional)

Directions –

In a medium saucepan, add water and coconut milk and rice. Cover and bring to a boil, then add salt – stir to dissolve, reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 15-18 minutes.

 

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

WP_20131229_13_07_09_Pro

I had just enough leftover chicken to make this, plus everything else on hand to make this recipe – I love that! This was perfect for a Sunday lunch and we all enjoyed it with our favorite crescent rolls. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Creamy Chicken + Lemon Rice Soup – adapted from Simply Scratch

  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 medium peeled carrot, diced small
  • 2 stalks celery, diced small
  • 8 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 3/4 cup white rice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1 heaping cup leftover shredded chicken

Directions –

Heat your Dutch oven over medium heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil.

SautĂ© the diced carrots and celery until they’re just starting to soften. Pour in the low sodium chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Pour in the 3/4 cup of long grain rice. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and reduce the heat to medium high. Cook the rice for 20 minutes; stand nearby just in case there’s a boil-over.

In a bowl, beat the two eggs and add in the lemon juice. Once the twenty minutes are up, remove the lid to the soup and gather some of the broth into a ladle. While stirring, slowly pour in the hot broth into the egg mixture. Then pour the warmed egg/broth mixture into the Dutch oven and stir.

Add in the shredded chicken and minced parsley. Taste the soup and check the seasonings, season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Beef with Snow Peas

I am really digging stir fry dinners! I bookmarked this recipe months ago, it’s a PW recipe so I knew she wouldn’t steer me wrong 😉 The flavor in this dish is spot-on! I didn’t have the required sherry, so I used Mirin – other than that, I followed all the directions. My family really enjoyed this meal and I my picky eater asked if she could eat leftovers before she was finished with her serving 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Beef with Snow Peas – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1-1/2 pound Flank Steak, Trimmed Of Fat And Sliced Very Thin Against The Grain
  • 1/2 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Mirin
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Ginger
  • 8 ounces, weight Fresh Snow Peas, Ends Trimmed
  • 5 whole Scallions, Cut Into Haf-inch Pieces On The Diagonal
  • Salt As Needed (use Sparingly)
  • 3 Tablespoons Peanut Or Olive Oil
  • Crushed Red Pepper, For Sprinkling
  • Jasmine Or Long Grain Rice, Cooked According To Package

Directions:

In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, and ginger. Add sliced meat to bowl and toss with hands. Set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet (iron is best) or wok over high heat. Add snow peas and stir for 45 seconds. Remove to a separate plate. Set aside.

Allow pan to get very hot again. With tongs, add half the meat mixture, leaving most of the marinade still in the bowl. Add half the scallions. Spread out meat as you add it to pan, but do not stir for a good minute. (You want the meat to get as brown as possible in as short amount a time as possible.) Turn meat to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove to a clean plate.

Repeat with other half of meat, allowing pan to get very hot again first. After turning it, add the first plateful of meat, the rest of the marinade, and the snow peas. Stir over high heat for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Check seasonings and add salt only if it needs it. Mixture will thicken as it sits.

Serve immediately over rice. Sprinkle crushed red pepper over the top to give it some spice.

Stir Fry

This was really good and my whole family enjoyed this meal. Next time I will add some honey or more orange juice for a little more sweetness, because the savory flavors were pretty strong. I like my flavors to have a little more balance, but other than that this is definitely a winner. Even my kids wondered if I’ll make this again! I can’t beat that kind of enthusiasm, especially when it has so many veggies in it. I will add more veggies next time and the fam requested baby carrots, and I missed the crispy crunch of water chestnuts. M doesn’t care for those, but he can pick them out; which means more for me 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Pat’s Broccoli and Chicken Stir-Fry – adapted from Food Network
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes, plus more to taste, if desired
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped ginger
  • 1 cup snap peas, rinsed and blanched
  • 1 cup bell pepper, sliced and blanched
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced at an angle – thin, blanched
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, blanched

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, orange juice, rice wine vinegar, light brown sugar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and cornstarch. Reserve.

Set a wok over medium-high heat and coat with 1 tablespoon of peanut oil. When the oil shimmers, add about half of the chicken thigh pieces. Stir-fry until the chicken is fully cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat the process with the remaining chicken thighs.

Add enough peanut oil to the hot wok to coat the bottom. Add the garlic, ginger, green onions, and red pepper flakes, to taste, and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken back to the pan along with the broccoli florets and stir to warm through. Pour in the reserved sauce and stir until the sauce is thickened and bubbly, about 45 seconds. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia

Quick Post: I was hoping that this would taste better, but I didn’t care for it too much. My husband said it was ok, but I know I wont make this again. It’s missing something – there are too many savory flavors going on here and not enough balance. Maybe it needed some lime to brighten it up, but I didn’t think to try that. I served the fish over this rice instead of the recommended orzo. Thanks for reading!

Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia – adapted from the Kitchn

  • 1 1/2 pounds tilapia fillets
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated, about 1 tablespoon
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Scallions, chopped for garnish
  • Extra cilantro, to garnish
Directions:

Heat the oven to 475°F. Pat the fish dry, season lightly with salt and pepper, and lay in a 9×9-inch or 8×8-inch ceramic or glass baking dish.

Put the garlic, grated ginger, chopped jalapeño, and cilantro in a small food processor with the white wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Whir until blended. (Alternately, you can finely chop or mash the aromatics in a mortar and pestle, then whisk together with the liquid ingredients.)

Pour the sauce over the fish, rubbing it in a little. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily and is cooked through. It will be very moist and even a little gelatinous, still.

Serve immediately over brown rice or orzo, garnished with the additional scallions and cilantro.

Soy-Ginger-Lime Chicken with Cilantro-Lime-Ginger Rice

Quick Post: The title is a mouthful! The combination of these two recipes was a hit at my house and it’s healthy, fresh and easy to make. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Soy-Ginger-Lime Marinade – adapted from Simply Scratch
  •  2 – 3 cloves of Garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 large Shallot, peeled and quartered
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • 3/4 inch of Ginger, peeled, and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon Honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
Combine all ingredients (using a stick blender makes quick work of this). Pour the mixture over the chicken and marinade for at least 4 hours. Preheat grill to medium heat and cook for 6 to 8 minutes per side or until done.
Cilantro, Lime and Ginger Rice –
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 inch of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • the zest and juice of one lime
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 4 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

Directions:

In a a saucepan combine rice, ginger slices, salt and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro and lime zest. Serve warm.

Coconut Milk and Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

I’m trying something a little crazy…my go to arroz con leche recipe has plain ‘ol milk in it. This is my first time using coconut milk and it’s my first time knowingly trying any food with this in it. Hopefully it’s not a complete waste of ingredients and time…I love rice pudding and it’s something that reminds me of my childhood. My Gram made her version (my fave no matter what) often and my siblings and I ate it hot as a breakfast treat. I’m sure I’ll never be able to recreate hers, but in the meantime, I’m having fun tasting other versions. This need for rice pudding came when I realized that I have several Madagascar vanilla beans patiently waiting to be used in my pantry. I bought them over the summer and haven’t used a single bean! How dare I! 😉 It has been at least a full year since the last time I made this decadent treat, so why not put the two together? While searching through Tastespotting, I found several versions of the classic – some with coconut milk and some with vanilla bean seeds. This recipe is a mishmash of a few recipes and techniques that will hopefully come together beautifully!

Verdict: So good, I love this stuff! Creamy, slightly sweet and perfectly comforting in my book.  I didn’t notice the coconut flavor, but it wasn’t as thick or “butter fatty” as the other recipe. I only used one cup because coconut milk has such a  high fat content, so I’ll be on the look out for lighter coconut milk. Also, I was also able to make a bigger batch of vanilla sugar the day I made this, so hopefully I can find the perfect use for some of it. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Coconut and Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding – 

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • lemon zest (strips, not grated)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt

Directions –

Pour rice and water into a 4 quart dutch oven or larger. Add the lemon peel, cinnamon stick and vanilla seeds to the pot. Let sit for an hour.

After soaking, bring the rice mixture to a boil on high heat, uncovered. When it starts to boil (about 5 minutes), lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 to 12 more minutes or until water is almost evaporated.

Add the milk and stir well to mix, add the sugar  and cook over medium-low heat, stirring carefully, until it thickens slightly or until desired consistency, about 25 to 35 minutes. Remove the lemon zest and cinnamon sticks.

Serve hot, cold or room temperature.